We were now on the home stretch but still keen to explore as much as we could in our last two days on the road.

We took a drive around Maryborough and a walk around the centre of town where there’s a modern new vibe trickling through the old historic streetscape.  We had coffee at the newly opened Milosc Photogroffee – a cafe with adjoining photo studio on Kent St, and Miss 8 gave the bronze Mary Poppins sculpture outside a hug.

On a longer visit we’d have definitely opted for the river cruise which departs Wharf St for morning, lunch and afternoon cruises at affordable prices. See www.maryboroughrivercruise.com.  There’s also a free guided walking tour of Maryborough’s historic sites – or call it up on your smart phone or ipad –  www.maryboroughwalk.info.

Heading out of Maryborough, we were now making the most of the country views, knowing we’d be back in the big smoke the next day. I particularly loved the tractor in the cane field we spied just outside Bauple.  And rather fittingly, we were about to learn that 2012 is indeed the International Year of the Farmer.

Tractor

The town of Bauple (pronounced Bopple) is on the old Bruce Highway so you need to turn off the main highway to go through town – but it’s a town with a mighty claim to fame as the original home of the macadamia nut.

Apparently Americans planted coffee in Maryborough during the Second World War and sent it back to the States, along with some native macadamia nuts, where it then went to Hawaii and has often been mistakenly thought of as a Hawaiian nut.    But the Bauple nut ,as it was once known, is indeed a Queensland native and Yolande Bromet is one who is keen to get the word out about this little town with a big history. Yolande’s family is farming macadamias locally, using biodynamic farming practices – free of pesticides. They hope to launch their own brand, Macadamia House, this year and are establishing a macadamia shop at their general store/cafe in Bauple. It’s already home to another macadamia icon – the original nut mobile from The Big Pineapple.

Yolande and Marc Bromet and the nut mobile that Prince Charles and Lady Di were famously photographed in.

The nut mobile

Yolande is a walking encyclopedia on macadamias and passionate about sustainable farming (it was she who told us about the International Year of the Farmer). She was also the first female on the Australian Macadamia Industry Board. Just down the road from the Bromets’ shop is the Mt Bauple and District Historical Society’s museum where you can further delve into the region’s history. A note for caravan and motorhome travellers – the village of Bauple also has free camping available.

After our extended stay chatting about macadamias, and taking a tour of the Bromets’ set-up, we hit the road for Mapleton, our last stop.

We were pleased to see another Apollo motorhome on the road as we headed into Gympie and cranked up the 70s song “Convoy” in its honour – this had tragically proven to be the most popular track of a “driving” compilation CD we took on the trip. Yup, the kids pretty much know it word for word now, Rubber Ducky.

Lovely Mapleton with blooming gardens and cool mountain air was a soothing finale to our big week on the road. We spent the night at the idyllic Mapleton Cabins and Caravan Park. It’s a short walk to the Mapleton Tavern with its gob-smacking views to the coast.

The next morning we wandered around the nearby Mapleton Lilyponds park with its birdlife and a cracking playground complete with flying fox, open lawns and a popular piece of equipment the kids called the flying seesaw.

The flying seesaw

Breakfast was at Elements Teahouse on Kondalilla Falls Rd, Montville. It’s a tranquil spot for a meal or coffee, and a spot of retail therapy, with views of the misty rolling hills, and just a skip down to the famous Kondalilla Falls.

So there it is, our little snapshot of life beyond the city, after a week on the road. It was sad to say goodbye to our Apollo motorhome – it’d been waiting patiently like a loyal puppy every time we returned from a walk around a town or a run up to a lookout, or a stroll in a tunnel.

The good folk at Apollo, who provided our motorhome for our trip, tell me they’ve got a competition running with the chance to win a road trip worth $20,000. Check it out at www.apollocamper.com

 Image source: Supplied